Tag Archives: political hate speech

Our informed electorate

I just read a story on Yahoo! News about Speaker Pelosi’s last press conference. The story itself was pretty spare, but there were more than 6,000 comments. I didn’t read them all. I couldn’t. I found them too shocking. The level of information was so abysmal. The personal invective was so crude. And the spelling was so bad. It was a real eye-opener.

I have no idea why so many people are so fixated on whether or not Nancy Pelosi has had plastic surgery. But it was a frequent topic. Having seen the Speaker in strong sunlight, I certainly saw no evidence of it.

Calling her a witch and a bitch was also popular. Again, I’m sure none of these people have ever met Ms. Pelosi. I found her perfectly pleasant the time I did.

Our founders believed that our success as a democracy would be founded on the decisions of an informed electorate. Over more than 200 years, the country has expanded on that idea with public education and media licenses that were supposed to extend our access to information.

It does not appear to be working.

Instead, hate speech seems to be taking over our country. We now give every appearance of being nationally insane. The solution to every ill is to blame somebody you don’t know, and accuse them of every kind of low behavior you can think of–whether the accusation has any basis in fact or not. And the people who engage in this ranting and raving don’t appear to feel any need to check out their “facts.” They have a shocking level of certainty in their delusions.

For example, one person posted that our financial woes are caused by liberals who voted to extend “annuity” payments to immigrants, whether they ever worked in the United States or not. Of course this is only true if this immigrant has become a citizen. In which case they are entitled to the same services as any other citizen. If they never worked, they would only get Social Security if they were a survivor of a deceased worker–just like the rest of us. Illegal immigrants, in contrast, frequently use fake papers to get work. So they pay taxes into our system, but they cannot draw benefits out for fear their illegal status might be discovered. Instead of draining our government programs, they have actually helped make them more solvent.

It’s perfectly easy to find this out. I did. But the person who posted this clearly didn’t see the need. He knew he was right. Probably heard it on Faux Noise.

I tend to hang out on lefty blogs, and so rarely get a glimpse into this side of America–except at family get-togethers. Clearly I will have to venture out of the bubble more often. But I recommend it in small doses. I haven’t felt this discouraged about the fate of my country in a long time.